*SIPs will deliver to a greater, bigger number of Nigerians this year-Presidency
Laolu Akande, Abuja; As different sections of the executive arm of the Federal Government are now defending the 2017 budget proposals before the National Assembly, new details are emerging on the continuation of the Social Investment Programmes, (SIP)of the Buhari presidency, including a plan to hire 350,000 more unemployed graduates under the N-Power Volunteer Corps.
According to the Senior Special Assiatant on Media & Publicity to the President, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, President Buhari has requested appropriation of N157.75B in the 2017 budget estimates for the N-Power scheme.
The N-Power is just one of the many SIPs that has so far drawn the interest and praise of Nigerians across board, Akande observed adding that a lot more is to come, especially this year, urging Nigerians to actively come out and take advantage of the different schemes this year.
Out of the N-Power 2017 N157B 2017 budget ” 350,000 unemployed graduates more would be hired and trained, alongside 50,000 non-graduates youths to be engaged as artisans and in other creative ventures,” Akande disclosed in his weekly update on the Social Investment Programmes on Sunday.
Under the N157.75B also, a sum of N4.5B has been earmarked for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM program to support young Nigerians in building skills in those disciplines.
Akande who welcomed the great public enthusiasm the programmes have so far generated, noted that the SIP budget proposals for 2017 are currently being discussed this week at the National Assembly, and urged Nigerians to expect more this year especially in the area of implementation as virtually all of the SIPs are now undergoing different stages of implementation.
“While we were able to engage 200,000 unemployed graduates last year, we will do 350,000 more this year,” he assured, adding that some of the teething problems are giving way to lessons that would smoothen implementation under the 2017 budget.
Equally, under the 2017 budget proposals now before the National Assembly, Akande disclosed that about N75B has been allocated for the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, which will provide one hot meal a day to 5 million primary school pupils. He explained again, that this would certainly be an improvement on how far the feeding programme has been implemented so far under the 2016 budget which has so far attained the feeding of about one million pupils.
The Spokesperson to the Acting President also stated that under the 2017 budget a sum of N112.2B has been allocated for the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme aimed at providing interest-free loans to up to 1.2million market men and women, traders, artisans, youths and farmers.
Under the GEEP, he explained that beneficiaries will receive between N10,000 and N100,000 loans with a one-time 5% administrative fee. Already under the 2016 budget, over 20,000 Nigerians in about 14 states and counting, have been benefiting from GEEP.
Similarly, the Conditional Cash Transfer which has kicked off in 9 states would be further expanded under the 2016 budget and will reach more states and much more Nigerians. The plan in 2016 budget targets one million poorest and vulnerable Nigerians. And in the 2017 budget an additional N54.98B has been allocated for the continuation of the N5000 monthly social safety net payments to the poorest Nigerians.
Akande further clarified that while President Muhammadu Buhari has further approved another N500B this year for all the social intervention programmes, N100B out of it has been allocated for the Family Homes Fund as already announced by the Ministry of Finance.
“2017 implementation of the SIP is going to be far more impactful than what we were able to do under the 2016 budget, so Nigerians should expect more this year, the resolve of the Buhari presidency is firm that more lives must be touched positively under this programmes which Nigerians have come to appreciate,” Akande concluded.